Leftovers are Good! NY Law Lets You Cash in on Expired Low Balance Gift Cards


Who doesn’t like gift cards? They’re great for those times when you don’t have any cash on hand, and they also make wonderful presents in moments where you have no idea what to gift someone with specifically. The drawback of using these is that the majority of them have expiration dates and charge extra fees, particularly if you want to load your current balance. Fortunately, the state of New York passed legislation allowing citizens to use their expired, low balance gift cards without having to worry about them expiring or having to pay additional fees. 

What law was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul?

Legislation S.3467-B/A.4629-C was signed by the governor on December 10, 2022, and this particular law prohibits fees from being charged to gift card holders. This law also extends the expiration date of gift cards to a minimum of nine years from the date of purchase. 

In general, the goal of this law is to ensure that gift cards maintain their value over time. Now, it’s important to note that this law isn’t exactly applicable to every gift card in existence. 

What is the law on expired low balance gift cards all about?

As previously mentioned, the newly signed gift card law would entail an extended expiration date of at least nine years upon the date of purchase of a gift card and the lifting of various fees, such as:

  • Activation fees
  • Latency fees
  • Renewal fees 
  • Handling fees
  • Access fees
  • Administrative fees 
  • Re-loading fees
  • Dormancy fees 
  • Service fees
  • Retroactive fees
  • Redemption fees

Whatever fee you can think of, you can rest assured that the new law would prohibit such charges from being paid by consumers. However, consumers must be wary of one exception to this otherwise beneficial law. 

Gift cards with multiple, independent merchant redemption options may impose a one-time activation fee not to exceed $9. On top of that, consumers have to take note of their gift card’s date of purchase, as this will be the basis for determining whether or not the new law will be applicable to the gift card in their possession. 


Gift Cards and Gift Certificates Date of Purchase  Minimum Expiration Date as Imposed by Law Inactivity Fee Terms
Bought between September 21, 2004 and August 21, 2010 No law requiring a minimum expiration.  After the 12th month of inactivity, a monthly inactivity fee may be assessed. 
Bought between the month of August 22, 2010 and December 24, 2016 The gift card has a five-year expiration window from the date of purchase.  After the 12th month of inactivity, a one-time inactivity fee may be assessed.
Bought between December 25, 2016 and December 9, 2022 The gift card has a five-year expiration window from the date of purchase.  After the 24th month of inactivity, a monthly inactivity fee may be assessed. 

Any activity fees will be waived, and the gift card will be loaded to its value prior to the fees if it is presented within three years of the purchase date. 

Bought on or after December 10, 2022 The expiration date of the gift card is nine years after the date of purchase.  Inactivity fees are forbidden. 

*Chart is based on New York State’s official website

What benefits would consumers get from the newly signed laws?

With the new gift card law being signed and all, consumers are more than glad to hear this kind of news before the year ends. This would rid them of worries pertaining to the loss of value with their gift cards, plus they can have them exchanged for cash if the value of the gift card itself is less than $5. 

With that being said, consumers will enjoy the full value of their gift card, and that’s something to look forward to. With the new benefits tied to gift cards, such as extended expiration dates and waived fees, they’ll become a much more meaningful gift during the holidays too!  


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